By Mannix Porterfield
Just say the West Virginia attorney general’s office is “bearing up,” courtesy of a teenager’s remarkable prowess as a hunter.
Now, there are two representatives of the state’s official animal, the black bear, one of them felled last December by Miranda Ware, then only 17, and the one that had stood guard there for years unmolested until someone removed a portion of one of the animal’s paw.
Ware, the daughter of Kevin and Mary Ware, residents of Upshur County, shot the latest member of the bear clan, a 200-pound sow, back on Dec. 14.
She and the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association agreed to lend the huge animal for one year, then replace it afterward with a fresh kill.
“That’s awesome,” Beth Ryan, communications director for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, said of Ware’s hunting skills.
“It was her second bear. She first harvested one when she was in the 8th grade. She’s a touch chick.”
This month, someone removed a portion of the paw of the older bear for reasons unknown.
“I don’t know what happened,” Ryan said.
“I don’t know if it was somebody intentionally trying to do something, or it was just an accident, someone fooling around with the paw.”
Or, perhaps, it was suggested, someone had read the old macabre tale, “The Monkey’s Paw,” and assumed it would be worth three wishes.
The bottom line, is that Morrisey is installing some new and unspecified security measures to make sure nothing like this is repeated.
“It is wonderful to have another bear representing our office and standing proud in the halls of our beautiful Capitol,” Morrisey said.
“It is fitting that the state’s animal is a black bear because they are strong, resourceful and noble. And we are honored that Miranda Ware, her family and the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association would be willing to loan this bear to us so that the entire state can marvel in her beauty.”
Ware exulted in seeing her quarry on display outside Morrisey’s office.
“My dad called me while I was at school and asked if I would be interested in loaning it, and I was really excited,” the 18-year-old said.
“I enjoy bear hunting, and I like being a girl who hunts bear. Not many girls do that.”
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